SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Cruise ships at anchor

9:21 AM: An unusual sight right now – cruise ships at anchor. Along with Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas in Elliott Bay, which we photographed last night, Silversea’s Silver Muse is anchored off Manchester, and that led to some reader emails this morning. Cruise ships are still in their testing phase before resuming paid-passenger cruises starting next week, and right now the regular berths in Seattle are already taken, so – as happens with cargo ships too – some are anchored in Coast Guard-administered spots. As we reported earlier this month, this year’s schedule has the first “revenue cruise” due in Monday.

9:52 AM: Thanks to Vlad Oustimovitch for sending this perspective of the Silver Muse off Manchester:

Along with the two at anchor, the three docked today are Nieuw Amsterdam and Majestic Princess at Pier 91, and Norwegian Encore at Pier 66.

39 Replies to "SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Cruise ships at anchor"

  • wscommuter July 16, 2021 (9:27 am)

    And likewise, another cruise ship  is anchored over off Manchester – weird site.  

    • WSB July 16, 2021 (9:31 am)

      That’s mentioned in the story. Haven’t gone downhill to try photographing it yet – just happened to photograph Ovation while we were on rounds looking at Alki/Harbor since it was unusual to see there too.

  • Auntie July 16, 2021 (10:21 am)

    Tourists aren’t all that these ships bring to our area:Why would we allow cruise-ship waste of any kind in Salish Sea? | The Seattle Times

  • flimflam July 16, 2021 (11:13 am)

    These giant floating sewage factories have no place in our waters.

  • SM July 16, 2021 (11:51 am)

    Food waste, endless plastic, tons of garbage and overall unnecessary consumption – – kind of like a metropolitan Seattle. If you don’t like it, don’t go on it. 

    • Kim July 16, 2021 (1:54 pm)

      How about, if you don’t like it, you can protest! Join a campaign to educate the public about the cruise ships and the damage to the environment. Yeah—little guys against big corporation, but organizations like 350 Seattle are doing their best. 

      • WSB July 16, 2021 (2:05 pm)

        Environmental advocates in fact have a media briefing on Monday, as does the port, after the first official cruise arrives.

      • SM July 16, 2021 (5:53 pm)

        Or just don’t go on cruise. The best protest is not opening your wallet. 

  • Auntie July 16, 2021 (12:52 pm)

    Scrubbers remove sulfur from the dirty bunker fuel that cruise ships burn. But you won’t find piles of black dust below the decks, because scrubbers take that air pollution and dump it directly into the ocean. For the Salish Sea, this means highly acidic sulfur, endocrine-disrupting PAHs, heavy metals and more. Just the kind of toxic pollution impacting salmon, orcas and all forms of ocean life in our region. And cruise ships do this in parts of the Salish Sea that are legally defined as No Discharge Zones.

    • copy-right July 16, 2021 (6:37 pm)

      Auntie’s comment should include quotes, as it is copied and pasted from The Seattle Times article.

  • anonyme July 16, 2021 (1:56 pm)

    Agree with flimflam.  These are conspicuous and hideous examples of tacky overconsumption and waste.  The tired old argument of something being justifiable solely because it brings in MONEYMONEYMONEYMONEY needs to be retired.

    • smittytheclown July 16, 2021 (2:48 pm)

      Would you rather all these people fly to Alaska and stay in hotels – because that carbon footprint would be huge – or are you advocating simply limiting travel?  Their wastewater is treated better than that of the city we live before being dumped – and it’s dumped out at sea not off of Magnolia.

      • Goodly July 16, 2021 (6:01 pm)

        Have you ever done the “napkin math” on how much fuel a jet burns with 180 people over a couple of hours versus those same people driving cars?Airplanes have their own pollution issues but gallon for gallon isn’t one of them.  

  • 1WS Resident July 16, 2021 (2:22 pm)

    To the average observer they would think cruise ships create overconsumption and waste. But leadership in each ships department are tasked with minimizing waste.  The head chef get’s evaluated based on the % of food waste – that is why they will “reuse” leftover food for the next days meals.  Contrast that with a grocery store that just throws food/vegetables out when it doesn’t look good.  I would bet the cruise ship throws out less.  Sewage?  The onboard ship systems purify the wastewater to a level that is almost drinkable, and they have very strict rules about where they can discharge.  Same thing with bilge waste – no oil/fuel allowed overboard at the risk of huge fines.  When you consider that about a million cruise ship passengers pass through Seattle each year, I would say the benefits definitely outweigh the minimized risks.

  • Sillygoose July 16, 2021 (2:35 pm)

    UGH!  Just when our bay has been at it’s cleanest in decades, orca, elephant and humpback whale sightings multiple times a week with babies then these god-awful monstrosities enter!! YUCK get rid of these grotesque things. 

    • StopCuttingDownTrees July 16, 2021 (3:31 pm)

      Those “grotesque things” are a clean industry that brings in gazillions of dollars of retail and tax revenue. That revenue keeps local families fed, housed, clothed, and our infrastructure (including sewage systems) operating.

    • Admiral guy July 16, 2021 (6:23 pm)

      I wish your assumption was fact based and spot on! Sadly, the rise in climate temp in the air and sea is driving species away from the equators towards the poles.  Last i check we were north of the equator.Easy to throw random crap responses out.Those and social media forums should require our real picture, email or address to keep us genuine.Long live armchair experts and pundits.  Total sarcasm implied…

      • Pessoa July 17, 2021 (7:48 am)

        The great physicist, perhaps greatest American physicist of all, Richard Feynman, was famous for this quote:  “Science is the  belief in the ignorance of experts.”  Yes, the context of this quote is important, but the general principle is valid.  As far as your “unmasking,” of the anonymous experts here, perhaps you should set an example for the rest of us.   

  • K to the F July 16, 2021 (3:12 pm)

    Hideous vehicles, all around. Recorded this one belching a horrible line of exhaust since they can’t even plug into shore power (conversely, we allow these noro/coronavirus breeding grounds to moor here when shore power is unavailable):Dis-gus-ting.

  • Lisa July 16, 2021 (3:15 pm)

    Sewage is not the only issue with cruise ships. From this article:

    A passenger’s carbon footprint triples in size when taking a cruise and the emissions produced can contribute to serious health issues.”

    “…the German watchdog Nabu surveyed 77 cruise ships and found that all but one used toxic heavy fuel oil that the group described as “dirtiest of all fuels”.

    That article goes on about the deleterious attributes of cruise ships.

    Personally, I can’t believe anyone would take one of these germ factories after having just lived through Covid!

  • Joe Z July 16, 2021 (3:46 pm)

    I hate the cruise ships but there’s no denying the hundreds of millions of dollars per year that they bring to the local economy. If you just look at where the lodging tax money goes the removal of cruises would mean the loss of money for affordable housing, homeless youth, arts and cultural institutions, etc. etc. 

    If you want the cruises to go away, you need to convince the actual tourists to not take cruises. Or create an international pact to ban all cruises on the west coast of North America. Otherwise our loss will be another city’s gain and the environment will be no better off. That said, the current lack of shore power at the Belltown port is inexcusable. 

    • For orca mammas July 16, 2021 (7:20 pm)

      Well, sadly, eventually this tax revenue won’t matter, when we’ve irreversibly destroyed our environment, and the planet.

      Do folks know that roughly half of the oxygen on our planet comes from the ocean and phytoplankton? If people aren’t concerned about orcas, maybe consider just the need to breathe oxygen. If we continue the status quo course of environmental pollution, including impacts of cruise and other ships on the sea, we will be harming phytoplankton and oxygen production processes, among other issues.

      We have so much beauty and resources in our own region to enjoy, hope we can come together to better protect it for the future.

  • 1WS Resident July 16, 2021 (5:01 pm)

    A cruise ship holds approx. 3,000 passengers and 2,000 crew.  Talk about “Mass Transit”!  Is there a more environmentally friendly way to transport 5,000 people from Seattle to Alaska?  Or should we just cut off travel to Alaska?  Additionally, cruise ships constitute a very small percentage of the many hundreds of boats in the Salish every week.  I doubt that whales care if it’s a cruise ship or a cargo ship.  And smaller boats often travel at higher speeds and may even “track” the whales, whereas the cruisers/freighters won’t.  To make the Salish totally whale oriented some would probably suggest we ban all boats, at a cost of all the vital benefits they bring.

  • Karen July 16, 2021 (5:03 pm)

    The well thought out concept of Cruise ships must have been created in the well thought out concept of a state called Florida. We used to think lead paint and vinyl siding were good ideas too. Our economy will make up for it in other forms of travel. What is the true eco footprint of a cruise ship 🤨 

    • Pessoa July 19, 2021 (8:04 am)

      My partner completed her grad work at UF.  Its a superb school and a wonderful state full of fantastic people. The difference between the NW and Florida?  People like you. 

  • TJ July 16, 2021 (5:33 pm)

    If you don’t like them, then don’t go on them. That’s a protest. But don’t think your view is superior to others who want to spend their money on them. These ships sail all over the world. Does Seattle have sanctimonious pillar it should stand on to not allow these? Give me a break. This is a big city. These aren’t going away so deal with it 

  • Pessoa July 16, 2021 (5:41 pm)

    There is a strong whiff of Puritanism (or more accurately, Calvinism) in today’s environmentalism. Old wine in new bottles.  

    • Copy-right July 16, 2021 (6:49 pm)

      Old whine, with new megaphones.

      • Pessoa July 17, 2021 (8:00 am)

        True.  The admonitions against cruise boat gluttony, sloth – even pleasure, gasp! –  are vestiges of a Puritanism that this country really never shed.   In my opinion, one could even go much, much further back and see a new Medievalism emerging in society one that relies on superficial symbolism including fear, anxiety, etc. etc. instead of calm, rational appraisal of the world. 

  • steve July 16, 2021 (6:12 pm)

    Need a place to live?  CRUISE SHIP!!! They have everything, cheap too!

  • For orca mammas July 17, 2021 (8:02 am)


  • C July 17, 2021 (9:26 am)

    Unless I’m mistaken, this is a new thing for Silversea as I don’t think they’ve embarked from Seattle in the past. I’ve done 10 cruises on their line over the years and I appreciate the smaller, more intimate ship size, culinary excellence and the luxury of an all-inclusive experience (not to mention the butler service). Usually I’d have to fly across the world to meet the ship. But after seeing some recent coverage here in the WSB I decided to book one of these Alaska itineraries for a cruise a few weeks from now. So stepping on and off the ship from Seattle is a huge plus. No jet leg!  I don’t know that we can expect the weather in the Inside Passage to be all that great in late summer. But we’re definitely excited about some of the shore excursions, including humpback whale watching, photo safaris of bears feeding on salmon in the wild, helicopter flights over glaciers and fly fishing in the Tongass National Forest.  Can’t wait. Haven’t traveled anywhere since April 2019. It’s really time to get out for a bit.

  • hand cannon July 19, 2021 (9:51 am)

    comparing puget sound to venice… that’s stretching things way out there..yes they are huge boats with issues, but unless you just want to stop tourists from coming at all here…. I would say the tourists are behaving themselves better than the rock throwers on I90….. (yes, I’m stretching things here.  Why not, it’s monday and i need some entertainment.) yes.  just call me Mister Sarcastic. I wonder what the dollars that come in with the cruise ships are to the economy. *hint, I’ll bet it’s huge

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